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PLBC says state should prioritize COVID-19 focus and funding on longstanding racial and economic divide in communities of color

Rabb lauds House passage of legislation to bolster business start-ups

(Mar 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship across the commonwealth passed the House today, 192-2. House Bill 324 would permit municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more to encourage development of micro-enterprises, businesses that employ up to five people. In so doing, such initiatives can reduce the number of people participating in social programs and transition them into the full-time workforce. “With my background as a business author, practitioner and professor teaching entrepreneurship, it led me to help extend the reach of this proposed initiative to a more diverse set of beneficiaries, including worker cooperatives,” Rabb said. “This business assistance program would now be made available to more prospective business owners who would most benefit from it, and prevent others outside of Pennsylvania from taking advantage of opportunities meant for state residents already invested in their local communities.” The legislation also would encourage partnerships with existing authorities and redevelopment authorities to operate a community development authority that would issue loans to micro-enterprises. Funding for the loans would come from money contributed by municipalities through a small portion of fees and fines collected, as well as money through private partnerships. Rabb said that bipartisanship helped to move Read more


Wheatley hosts event celebrating, promoting minority, women and disadvantaged businesses in Pennsylvania

(Mar 18, 2019)

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, hosted an event in Harrisburg celebrating and promoting minority, women and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE) in Pennsylvania. Read more


Burgos appointed to serve on Governor’s Census Commission

(Mar 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 15 -- State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission as Pennsylvania prepares for the 2020 census. Gov. Tom Wolf formed the commission to make sure Pennsylvania is taking the appropriate steps to achieve a complete and accurate count of the population. Burgos said that the commission will be making recommendations on methods and policies that will help make the 2020 census more accurate and easier to achieve. “I am looking forward to working with, and facilitating the most complete and accurate census count in 2020. Including implementing strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas,” Burgos said. “This is an important appointment as the commonwealth prepares for the census next year. We need all people to be counted, from our biggest cities to our small and rural communities Pennsylvania may suffer deep consequences if the population is miscounted. “From losing seats in Congress to receiving billions of dollars less in federal funds for a variety of services and programs, there is a lot at stake. It is why the work of this commission is so important, and why it is an honor for me to be chosen for this important work,” he said. Some of the organizations joining Burgos on the commission are the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Service Employees International Union and the NAACP. Burgos was appointed Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Mar 12, 2019)

Crystal Bird Fauset became the first black woman in the U.S. to be elected to a state general assembly. She was elected to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938. Read more


Rabb to reignite effort to reform special elections for Pa. legislature

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he plans to re-introduce legislation to reform the special election nomination process for the Pennsylvania legislature. “Far too often, special elections across the commonwealth fail to honor our participatory democracy, where the people, not a political party, are supposed to be in charge of choosing a candidate,” Rabb explained. “My bill aims to prevent nominees from being hand-picked, putting the responsibility solely in the hands of voters, and restore public faith in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly.” Under Rabb's bill , people interested in running in a special election would be required to: File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district. Pay a modest filing fee. Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy, which would be posted on the Department of State's website and made available to the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Rabb's bill also would require political parties to advertise and hold a public meeting to consider each person who seeks nomination as a candidate in a special election. “The whole point of an election is to choose the best person fit to serve, period,” Rabb said. “Instead, current special election rules favor a process that deters a wide variety of candidates from Read more


Cephas to hold ‘State of the 192nd’ town hall March 14

(Mar 08, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas is holding a town hall meeting for residents of her legislative district from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Sweet Union Baptist Church, located at 1536 N. 50 th St. According to Cephas, the “State of the 192nd” town hall will focus on the outlook of the communities she represents and review her legislative and local goals for the year. “This town hall meeting is an excellent opportunity for people to have their voices heard and partner with me to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and build a more vibrant community,” Cephas said. “I am honored to serve for another term and look forward to sharing more with the people I represent. Year one was a success, but the work continues!” Cephas said the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue, and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. will be among the local agencies and organizations that will be in attendance and have resources to share. Residents who have questions about the town hall or who need help with any state-related matter should contact Cephas’ office at 215-879-6625 . Read more


Join Rep. Wheatley in Harrisburg for a MWDBE summit

(Mar 08, 2019)

Join Rep. Wheatley for his MWDBE networking event in Harrisburg. Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Mar 05, 2019)

Established in 1837, Cheyney University in Pennsylvania was the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). In the 1930s when Jewish academics, facing persecution in Europe, started arriving in the U.S, they found an accepting environment in the HCBUs. At the time, African-Americans and Jews were united in their common goal of attaining equality. Read more


Kenyatta introduces bill to strengthen protections against cyberattacks

(Mar 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 4 – With the ongoing attempts of cyberattacks targeting Pennsylvanians, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would help protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure. “From email and phone scams to personal data breaches, it is unconscionable the number of attempted cyberattacks occurring in Pennsylvania. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “We have to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information and the creation of the Cybersecurity Innovation Commission would do just that.” House Bill 225 would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. The commission also would work with businesses to make sure they are up-to-date on the newest technology. During recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, officials with the Governor’s Office of Administration testified that while they follow national federal guidelines and best practices to defend the commonwealth against cyberattacks, they still have seen an increase in the number of threats, with 18 billion in 2018. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranks 18th in the nation for the amount of identity theft cases. Read more


Rabb seeks nominations for 'phenomenal women'

(Mar 01, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work. Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families. Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at www.pahouse.com/Rabb , or by calling his office at 215-242-7300. The deadline for nominations is March 11. Read more


Davis: $45,000 grant awarded to local nonprofit veterans program

(Mar 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – A national nonprofit organization situated in West Mifflin is receiving a $45,000 state grant to help fund the group’s initiative of providing welcome home kits to at-risk veterans, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. Davis said Operation Troop Appreciation, located at 1200 Lebanon Road, has been selected by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get the grant through the Veterans Trust Fund, which is replenished by generous Pennsylvanians who make a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID, or renewing a vehicle registration. “Since becoming a nonprofit organization in July 2004, Operation Troop Appreciation – which we’re proud to have located in our district – has been a source of hope and appreciation for veterans abroad and for those returning home,” Davis said. “This selfless organization, which is completely run by volunteers, works tirelessly to make sure veterans have what they need while overseas and ensures veterans don’t end up on the streets once they return home. It’s with great appreciation and gratitude that I announce this grant for Operation Troop Appreciation.” Aside from grant money, funding for OTA comes by way of donations. Read more


Cephas applauds $86,000 to help Philadelphia veterans

(Mar 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today that St. Joseph’s University is receiving $11,836 to help fund its efforts to assist veterans. The grant money is part of the Veterans Trust Fund and will be used to support the school’s podcasts that highlight business topics of interest to women veterans and military spouses. “The commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our veterans has opened the door to freedoms that too many in this country take for granted. While we can never fully repay them for their service, this money is critical in supporting programs aimed at helping our nation’s heroes here at home,” Cephas said. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for awarding these funds, and I share in his passion to putting veterans and their families first.” St. Joseph’s University was one of three organizations in Philadelphia that received VTF funding: Military Assistance Project: $49,600 to provide free legal services to veterans Veterans Multi-Service Center: $25,000 for its women veterans program A complete list of recipients can be found here . The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. The VTF also receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, more than Read more


McClinton announces appointment of deputy caucus chairs

(Feb 26, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 26 – House Democratic Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced the appointment of four legislators to serve in the newly-created role of deputy caucus chair for the 2019-2020 legislative session. The newly appointed deputy caucus chairs are: State Rep. Morgan Cephas, Philadelphia County State Rep. Ed Gainey, Allegheny County State Rep. Frank Burns, Cambria County State Rep. Michael Schlossberg, Lehigh County “As the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the House Democratic Caucus chair, I am committed to ensuring that our new members have the information and mentorship they need to best serve their communities. I also know it is equally important to work hand-in-hand with our experienced members to better meet the needs of all of our constituents. For those reasons, I’m grateful to be joined in this effort by four deputy caucus chairs who represent a cross-section of our caucus in terms of gender, race and geographic location,” McClinton said. In their new roles, the deputy caucus chairs will work closely with the 24 new members of the House Democratic Caucus to provide peer mentoring in areas such as messaging, legislative goals, district office outreach and constituent services. The deputy caucus chairs will also work with McClinton to prepare special informational presentations for legislators and to encourage all members to routinely attend daily caucus meetings Read more


Know your rights regarding housing issues

(Feb 25, 2019)

I’m inviting you to learn about your rights by attending my Housing: Know Your Rights event on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Berean Presbyterian Church, 2101 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 19122. Renters and homeowners can receive information on their rights as well as on a number of state-related programs, such as help to heat your home and assistance with rent or property taxes. Read more


Bullock Fights For Diversity in PSP

(Feb 25, 2019)

During a House Budget Hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock questioned the lack of diversity in the Pennsylvania State Police. She discussed why it’s critical to have troopers of all different backgrounds. Read more


PLBC hosted a Tuskegee Airmen program for Black History Month

(Feb 25, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 23 - State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosted a Black History Month program to celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen and women. "The Tuskegee Airmen and women proved everyone who doubted the leadership skills of black Americans wrong,” Kinsey said. “Before the civil rights movement began to form, these heroes helped open doors for black Americans in the military and beyond.” The event featured a panel discussion with Tuskegee Airmen and women from the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., including Nathan O. Thomas, Dr. Eugene Richardson, and Alma Bailey. The panel was hosted by Junious R. Stanton. There were also performances by the Kappa Concert Choir and dance selections from Sanaa Sewell, a fifth grader from the Mathematics Science and Civics Charter School. Read more


Davidson prime supporter of bill passed to help first-time homeowners

(Feb 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 25 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, announced that the state House of Representatives last week voted to pass a bill that she supported to give first-time homebuyers a tax deduction for money saved toward the purchase of a home. “I was a prime supporter of this bill because we have to make it easier for ordinary Pennsylvanians to own their own home,” she said. “Last week’s vote showed overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation, which would make homeownership more accessible. I hope the Senate will hear the resounding roar of support for this bill and move it forward to the governor’s desk.” The First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act would allow Pennsylvanians to open special savings accounts and take state tax deductions for eligible expenses such as a down payment and closing costs. Account holders would be permitted to claim deductions for a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period. Annual contributions would be capped at $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return. The bill would apply to first-time homebuyers and those who have not owned or purchased a home within the three years leading up to the purchase. Allowing Pennsylvanians to establish first-time homebuyer savings accounts could result in an annual increase of up to 4,000 home purchases within the state, with the projected impact from economic activity, job creation and earnings reaching as high as Read more


Burgos Celebrates Dominican Independence Day

(Feb 19, 2019)

As the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Pa. state Rep. Danilo Burgos gave the keynote address in Harrisburg to honor 175 years of independence for the Dominican Republic. He explains the legislation he’s working on to help people of all backgrounds achieve the American Dream. Read more


House Democrats sponsoring bills to improve access to career & tech ed programs in Pa.

(Feb 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, today announced his support for a bipartisan package of legislation that would enhance the quality of career and technical education programs throughout Pennsylvania. This four-bill package aligns with the House Democrats’ Plan4PA to give students throughout the commonwealth a quality education that would jumpstart their careers in vocational and technical job fields. “As Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, I am committed more than ever to improving the delivery of Career and Technical Education programs to those who need them the most,” Roebuck said. “These past few years, numbers have risen to more than 67,000 Pennsylvania high school students being able to participate in CTE programs. This bipartisan package of bills – especially my two bills – would build upon the success we have already seen, while also giving stakeholders a voice to make much-needed changes.” In 2015, the House unanimously adopted H.R. 102 to establish the Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness. The subcommittee, co-chaired by state Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, made several recommendations that resulted in this package of legislation, including calling for a central database of resources. “Young Pennsylvanians contemplating career paths have access to a wealth of resources from Read more


Bullock Pushes for Community Solar

(Feb 19, 2019)

At a Capitol news conference, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock promotes legislation enabling community solar projects in Pennsylvania. In community solar, participants can subscribe to a portion of an offsite solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their roof. Read more